Tour Chartwells' new mobile teaching kitchen for kids

chartwells mobile kitchen

Chartwells K12 staff, including regional chefs Josh Perkins and RJ Harvey, designed the mobile teaching kitchen in partnership with a Charlotte, N.C.-based customization company that’s worked with restaurants, social media brands, breweries and sports teams. Though the container itself is quite small—80 square feet, to be exact—three of its four sides open up to maximize viewing and demo space. Here’s a look at some key elements.

Relatable kitchen setup

chartwells kitchen demo

To increase students’ comfort in the space, equipment was modeled after a typical home kitchen: range, microwave, freezer, refrigerator, pantry, cabinet and sinks. “Our main principle was that we wanted to build something that would be relatable to a home kitchen,” Perkins says. “It’s not for chefs to show off; it’s for chefs to teach something useful.” Two points of differentiation are the five induction burners (chosen to minimize the complications of propane) and an under-counter refrigerator (which maximizes working surfaces). A separate hand-washing sink lets students wash up without monopolizing the main food prep sink.

Expandable teaching tables

chartwells kids demo table

The kitchen features three stainless steel tables along its exterior sides that fold up to create student workspace for hands-on participation with food prep, such as using kid-safe cutting tools and boards. “We planned to accommodate up to 30 students,” Perkins says. “I think 15 students working at a cutting board at once could happen, and then you could rotate out.” 

Easy entrance, exit

chartwells teaching kids

The ability to move freely between the kitchen space and the teaching tables around the exterior was important, Perkins says. “The kitchen is a horseshoe shape and, at the rear, you can exit in either direction off a very low step,” he says. “You can easily step down to the teaching tables and be able to get up close to a student with a cutting board and a knife.” 

Display and replay

chartwells kids monitors

The kitchen is equipped with four display monitors to show close-up video feeds of the cooking action. “We have these fold-out panels that can be used as dry erase so we can relay a lot of diet information,” Perkins says. “There’s a back wall with a full AV system and wireless PA of the audience. All of this was built to accommodate ... a very big close-up teaching situation, or [being] outdoors.” The video equipment also allows Chartwells K12 to record lessons to replay in the future for remote education, Saidel says. 

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

Industry News & Opinion

Panera Bread Co. announced today that it intends to buy the Au Bon Pain brand as a way of opening more bakery-cafes in colleges, healthcare facilities, office buildings, travel centers and malls.

Au Bon Pain, which was Panera’s sole business under an earlier incarnation of the company, consists of 304 bakery-cafes. Several units are located in noncommercial venues.

Panera owns or holds the franchise rights to about 2,050 restaurants, few of which are located outside of strip malls.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Immediately after the deal was...

FSD Resources